Sunday, September 13, 2015
Monday, November 7, 2011
Normally, I start my day with a strong black tea. But today, my glucometer strongly indicated I would need something to drink without any sweetener. Since I usually sweeten my morning cup of Irish Breakfast, that was out of the question. So I rummaged around my shelf and found this lovely China Green I had forgotten about ... purchased a little over a year ago from SpeacialTeas and stored in an air tight, light tight container after sampling a few cups. As you can see, it comes in a tightly wound ball of tiny olive green and yellow green leaves ... the label calls it a rosette but ball is a much more accurate description. One ball to a 6 oz cup of water that has just begun to steam, steeped for a counter-intuitive 5 minutes and good for multiple infusions. The liquor is a medium gold, the aroma dry is mildly fruity and steeped is mildly vegetal and the flavor is delightfully smooth, a touch of fruit with an undertone of honey. I tried the multiple infusions and the second and third cups were even smoother than the first. Now that I have rediscovered this treasure I shall have to brew it again in the very near future. Unfortunately, I only have seven rosettes/balls left and the supplier is no longer in business.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Like a child, I have "saved the best for last". First, a very pretty Wedgewood creamer. I have also photographed the maker's mark since it identifies the pattern. One of these days I am going to gather all my photographs, print them out and start researching the value/collectibility of the various pieces I have acquired over the years. Secondly, this hob-nailed bowl of emerald green Depression glass was a real find. Depression glass is a "first love", something I have been collecting since my husband introduced me to the wonderful shops in Boothbay Harbor very early in our 40+ year marriage. I love the shape of this dimunitive little bowl, the fluting along the sides and the bands of hobnail along the top and bottom. I have a few other emerald green pieces and I can see this bowl holding clotted cream or jam at tea time. A perfect size for tea for two.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I am not sure whether I'd classify the shops I visited on my recent mini-vacation in the Catskills as low-end antique shops or high-end junk shops. But I did find some rather unusual tea cups and saucers. This cup and saucer was quite a surprise when I unwrapped it at home. While in the rather dark shop, I had taken note of the footed cup and the rather detailed medallion on the side. What I didn't notice until I got home was that the saucer had an openwork pattern ... the shop was very dark, indeed, probably not a very good sign. "Caveat emptor" should have been reverberating through my brain, no doubt. This set has a maker's mark indicating this is made by a company called Royal Hansley. I couldn't get a very good picture of the mark since, even viewed the a magnifying glass, it looks out-of-focus. A few days later, at another shop, I saw a cup with the very same medallion detail, though the cup had a differnt base treatment and the saucer it was paired with didn't seem to match. Needless to say, I didn't buy the second ... but found the identical medallion image to be quite the suspiscious coincidence. This is the only vacation purchase I regret now that I am home. I think I got caught up in the thrill of the chase, rummaging around the shops looking for lovlies to add to my collection of tea cups. But it will mix well with other black background teacups I have. The cup has a nice enough balance and feels light in the hand. While it will never be my favorite, I will use it with pleasure.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This post will show just how much of a magpie I really am. If it's a pretty bauble, I'll buy it whether it is a true teaware collectible or not. This lovely little Johnson Brothers demitasse cup and saucer is an example ... a very modern piece since the manufacturer's mark clearly states that it is dishwasher and microwave safe ... probably not particularly collectible [yet] but quite sweet with it's pastoral cottage design. The other piece, a lovely creamer bearing the mark of Jonroth England, does seem to be a bit more venerable. Though made in England, it was clearly made for the American market since it depicts Plymouth Rock and John and Priscilla Alden. I forsee some pleasant hours browsing the Internet to research this piece to gauge it's age and value. But I am already quite fond of it. I did my graduate work in early American literature, so much of my studies concerned early journals, letters and documents written by the early European settlers on these shores. I rather like the notion of John and Priscilla keeping me company at tea time. The only thing these pieces have in common is Staffordshire as the place of origin and the lovely rose pink color. I shall have to find a few other pieces to blend into my own eclectic tea set: a sugar bowl, a few cake plates and cups and saucers. I can see this sort of collecting growing into an obsession of sorts. I have already built up several tea sets in Depression Glass and now I am moving on to china. I suppose I could have worse vices.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
While vacationing in Greene County earlier this month, I did my usual round of the "antique" shops in the area. We are not talking gallery type shops with museum quality antiques but rather indoor flea markets. Even so, some small treasures may be found in such places. I will be showing photos of my finds over the next week or so.
First up is this beautiful cup and saucer from Royal Chelsea. What caught my eye at first was the autumnal leaf pattern, the pretty shape of the shallow bowl of the cup. Turning it over to look for a mark, I noted that it was a "limited" edition, 470 of Lord knows how many. I'll have to spend a little time on the Internet. I have a lot to learn yet about the various china manufacturers and really don't know how much of a find this cup and saucer might be. But that's okay since I really bought it because I liked the pattern. In fact, I am enjoying a cup of Chun Mee organic green tea in this cup as I type this post. The colors are among my favorites and seem so appropriate this fine October morning.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I have long been curious about the South Carolina tea plantation and have finally gotten around to purchasing a sampler pack of their teas from Bigelow. They come in attractive little black tins with little stickers touting the fact that the tea was grown here in the States. Today, I sampled the Charleston Breakfast tea and found it very pleasant though a little less robust than my customary Irish Breakfast tea. It's the sort of tea that I privately classify as a very good "mug" tea ... well-suited to the work-a-day routines of ordinary life. It's not the sort of tea one needs to sip from a fine porcelain cup, with serene music playing softly in the background and flowers, dainty biscuits and silverware on the tea tray. This is the sort of thing you put in your to-go cup for the daily commute or make up at the office using an electric tea kettle and one-mug filtration deal. A good strong mug-on-the-desk sort of tea. I expect this little tin is going to find its way into the tea stash in my desk's second left drawer. I will be tasting the other teas in this sampler pack over the next few days and will report on them as well.